Face masks are now required when students are inside Fairfax County Public School buildings, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, the school district announced this Wednesday morning. FCPS shared its plans for mask-wearing and other health protocols in an email to families and staff and on its Return to School webpage.
“Masks are an essential tool in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and protecting those unable to be vaccinated,” the message says. “To ensure a safe start to the school year, masks will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, inside FCPS buildings.”
The announcement comes a week after Virginia’s health and education departments released new guidance giving local school systems discretion to determine their own mask rules, though the state recommended that elementary schools at least adopt universal masking with children younger than 12 still not eligible to get vaccinated.
A statewide mandate requiring all children 5 and older to wear masks while in school expired on Sunday, July 25.
According to a graphic on the FCPS website, fully vaccinated staff will not be required to wear masks when no students are present in a school building, and masks will not be required for either vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals outdoors.